Dinner at Evergreen
Evergreen is housed in the basement of a seedy Minneapolis strip mall, but this is where you can get authentic Asian cuisine that can accommodate carnivores, pescetarians, vegans, and vegetarians. It is one of my favorite restaurants in Minnesota and my family has been going to Evergreen faithfully, for dinner and brunch, for over ten years. Why? They’re one of the few places in the Midwest that serves Taiwanese and Hakka cuisine — just having this speciality buys a special place in my [very Taiwanese] parents’ hearts.
So what exactly is Taiwanese cuisine? It is strongly influenced by the cuisine in the Fujian province of China, but you’ll also see influences from the Portuguese, the Spanish, and the Japanese; there’s a lot of seafood, shallots in dishes, and brothy soups. Taiwanese cuisine is most often known for Taiwanese beef noodle soup, stinky tofu (I love it but Zimmern hates it), and bubble tea (which was invented in Taichung, Taiwan). While Evergreen does serve authentic Taiwanese cuisine, it does carry the mandatory-Chinese-food-Asian-restaurants-must-have-to-accommodate-picky-Westerners dishes on its menu as well. But if you want to come here and order cream cheese puffs, you really need to leave and go eat at the Chinese fast food place at the mall instead.
The three cup tofu (pictured above) and the three cup chicken — traditionally known as 三杯雞 — are two of my favorite dishes and the most notable dishes on the menu. It’s called three cup because the sauce is composed of one cup of soy sauce, one cup of sesame oil, and one cup of sugar. There’s so much flavor in Evergreen’s version that words can’t accurately describe the taste. In fact, some of the other dishes on the menu are also very complex in flavor. If they had to use adjectives to describe each of the dishes on the menu, the menu would be the size of War and Peace.
Although you can’t really go wrong ordering Evergreen’s other delicious dishes, like the lamb noodle soup or the sea bass with soy bean, always, I repeat, always order at least one of the specials. Why? Because they’re special. You’ll see what I mean when you visit.
In the back of the restaurant, you’ll notice a refrigerated case with some pre-portioned appetizers that you can help yourself to. These cold appetizers range from $1.75 to $4, some vegan friendly (pictured above: picked cucumbers) to the not so vegetarian friendly (stewed pig ears). A novice Evergreener will order the cold appetizers from the menu instead of walking to the case. So if you start to get a little hungry while you wait, strut to the back like a pro and grab a snack. Or two. Or three.
As for brunch, Evergreen serves a very authentic Taiwanese breakfast every Saturday with savory or sweet hot soybean milk (pictured: top left), you tiao (pictured: top right — it literally means “oily stick” in Mandarin), shao bing (like a sesame tortilla), and fan tuan (pictured below; rice balls stuffed with dried pork and a small piece of you tiao).
I used to look forward to their brunch every weekend when I was younger: just sitting there, stuffing my face with you tiao temporarily tricking myself into thinking I was back at Grandma’s house in Kaohsiung or my aunt’s in Taipei. Evergreen is the perfect place to experience a little slice of Taiwan.
[My biggest fear is that because I’ve talked about this place so highly, you’ll all have obnoxiously high expectations.]
2424 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55404
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- stephaniefoo said: yum! But do they have oyster pancake?
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